Rethinking the Pill
By Sarah Axtell, ND • February 10, 2017
While it may seem like a “cure-all” to your hormonal woes, the pill does not come without side effects. Side effects include low libido, weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, brain fog, breast tenderness, and altered mood, such as depression and anxiety. If this isn’t enough to convince you to investigate other forms of contraception, how about the well-documented risks of blood clots, high blood pressure, gallstones and cancer?!
But let’s discuss the pill and your mood…I see emotional lability, depression and anxiety too often associated with the pill and want to see women empowered about their health and gain back control of both their physical and mental/emotional health.
Here are the negative effects of the birth control pill on your health, in particular your mood:
- Thyroid dysfunction and low testosterone: Synthetic estrogens and progestin increase thyroid and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This leads to a decrease in testosterone and thyroid hormones which translates to low libido, low mood, constipation, weight gain and an overall lack of vitality.
- Increases Inflammation, which leads to depression: A study published in 2012 in Human Reproduction found that the pill increases SHBG, insulin resistance and markers of inflammation, such as CRP. It is now well established that inflammation is a trigger of depression. CRP, a marker of inflammation that is increased from the pill, has not only been shown to relate directly to a diagnosis of depression, but it is predictive of depression. In fact, turmeric has been found to enhance the effectiveness of antidepressants, improve PMS and some studies show it is be superior to Prozac. See here for some abstracts:
- Chronic Supplementation of Curcumin Enhances the Efficacy of Antidepressants
- Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
- Effect of curcumin on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in women with premenstrual syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
- Nutrient Deficiencies associated with the pill:
- B6- Vitamin B6 is a cofactor in the production of neurotransmitters that help regulate mood, such as GABA and serotonin.
- Zinc- See here on the “Warning Signs of Zinc Deficiency” and associated health complications, such as depression.
- B12 and folate deficiency- These nutrient deficiencies can leave you feeling tired, depressed and/or anxious AND can cause elevated levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine accelerates plaque buildup and thus increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Selenium– an important nutrient for the thyroid. When the thyroid is sluggish, so is metabolism, mental clarity and mood.
It’s time to rethink the pill as it may be causing more harm than good! Let’s get to the root cause of your hormonal imbalance rather than the “one-size-fits-all,” band-aid approach.
For contraception, I recommend the IUD, condoms or natural family planning (rhythm method).
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.